“Hey Google, where can I get Mexican food in Sydney?”
If you have a Google Home or an Amazon Echo, chances are you’ve uttered a sentence similar to the ones above. And so have your customers.
Over the last few years, voice search has grown dramatically, driven largely by smart speakers and smartphones. Nearly one-third of all global smartphone users were using voice search in 2019, and this number has continued to grow.
If it’s not already, voice needs to be part of your SEO and marketing strategy – or you risk missing out on a significant chunk of your audience. And with the risk of Google shutting down its search engine in Australia, you’ll want to focus some attention on other channels like Bing, which has full featured voice search capabilities, and in-built smartphone search functionality.
Voice search isn’t just a powerful tool for reaching new customers. It’s key to ensuring you stay ahead of competitors and rank higher in search results. Many brands haven’t jumped on voice search yet, so now is the time to start.
As you kick off any new marketing plan, you’re of course going to research what keywords you should target, and how they’re being used. You want to make life easier for your customers, so understanding how people search for your services or discuss topics relevant to your brand is vital.
When doing a traditional Google search for, say, breweries, you might type in “breweries in Sydney” to see what’s around. Consumers rarely type out a full, grammatically correct sentence (unless you’re this grandmother from Manchester who went viral a few years ago for her polite Google searches).
But if you’re doing a voice search, you probably wouldn’t say “Hey Google, breweries in Sydney” – when speaking out loud, it’s more common to phrase it conversationally or as a question. “What are some breweries close to me?” “What are the most popular breweries in Sydney?”
When getting into voice search marketing, the first step is to take the time to understand how people research your services and position your content accordingly. You’ll need to focus on the ‘where’, ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of your products and services when selecting your core keywords.
(Voice) Search for Inspiration.
Voice search technology may still be in its infancy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look to today’s marketplace for inspiration.
One simple way businesses of any size can get involved with voice is by creating a Google action or Alexa skill. These are functions that allow voice assistants to react to user commands and requests.
Many businesses are already getting inventive with how they create actions for voice searches. PayPal customers can ask Siri to send money to their friends and family.
Take the time to brainstorm how customers would use your product and the type of questions they’d ask themselves. If you’re a local record store, create actions that offer potential customers info about how to properly clean and store vinyl. If you own a sports equipment store, actions that offer workout advice are a fantastic way to engage with customers.
Just like traditional SEM and inbound marketing, the more you can provide useful content that shows customers you’re an expert in your field, the more trust you’ll build. Over time, this trust turns into sales.
Not only does voice search save customers a lot of time, but it offers a frictionless experience.
Making shopping more convinient.
The voice shopping market is expected to hit $40 billion by 2021. Shoppers love being able to explore their options online without having to go in-store – particularly in a time of frequent lockdowns when ecommerce went through the roof. Not only does voice search save customers a lot of time, but it offers a frictionless experience. You don’t need to download an app or wait for a webpage to load. All you need to do to start shopping is utter a few words.
Voice search is already making waves, so brands that are yet to add voice search into their marketing strategies need to act fast. By understanding how voice search differs from traditional search experiences, your brand will stand out from the pack and be the loudest voice in the room.